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December 19, 1903

SPENCER AND POPULAR BIOLOGY.

JAMA. 1903;XLI(25):1544. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490440034007

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Abstract

The recent death of Herbert Spencer has recalled general attention especially to certain of his theories that were popular among the medical profession a generation ago. Between the time when he wrote his "Principles of Psychology" as a young man and revised the latest edition of his "Principles of Biology," Spencer's views as regards the significance of life had undergone a decided change. In discussing Spencerian principles it is the custom of many to accept his earlier immature view as representative of his opinions rather than his latest thinking. In his "Principles of Psychology" he said: "The chasm between the inorganic and the organic is being filled up; the microscope has traced down organisms to simpler and simpler forms until in the protogenes of Professor Haeckel there has been reached a type distinguishable from a fragment of albumin only by its finely granulated character." In a letter published in Nature

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